For an introduction to the series, read this.
We continue working our way through the Apostles’ Creed today. A quick note: I will actually take two week on this particular line because there is a lot of theological depth in it to be explored:
Memorization for the Week
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. The third day he rose from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
Thoughts for Discussion with Children
According to the book of Acts, Jesus went back up to heaven about 40 days after he had been raised from the dead. His disciples saw him taken up by God’s power until they couldn’t see him anymore. Why do you think Jesus did this? There are at least three reasons:
(1) Jesus went up to heaven because he had finished the work that he came to do here. Jesus lived a life without sin, perfectly obeying God the Father at every point. He obeyed the Father all the way to the cross, where he died for the sins of his people. And then God raised him from the dead. After he appeared again to his disciples and taught them everything he wanted them to know at that time, he returned to heaven because he had no more work to do on earth. He returned to the glory he had with the Father before he ever came to earth in the first place.
(2) Jesus went up to heaven to rule from there as king for a time. The Apostles’ Creed says that Jesus “sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.” The Bible teaches that sitting at God’s right hand is a position of authority and kingship. Jesus now sits at the right hand of the Father because he is the king that God promised would come from David’s line. As king, he rules over absolutely everything!
But of course, many people do not believe or know that he is king. So he is not exercising his rule out in the open yet. Why not? It is because he is giving people all over the world time to turn away from their sins and trust in him for forgiveness so that they too can be part of his kingdom instead of falling under his judgment. That’s why the book of Acts tells us that before Jesus went back up to heaven, he told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit to be given to them so that they would have God’s power to proclaim the good news about Jesus around the world. And that same mission is going on today. If we are followers of Jesus, we too have received the Holy Spirit, who empowers us to proclaim the gospel so that others may be saved.
(3) Jesus went up to heaven to give a preview of his return. The angels who appeared to the disciples after Jesus went away told them that he would come again in the same way they saw him go. That means that when Jesus returns, he will come back out in the open, where all can see him. On that day, the whole world will know that he is king, and he will exercise his rule over this world openly. His ascension to heaven gives us a preview of that coming day that the Bible calls our “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13).
Praise God for Jesus’ ascension to heaven. It shows that he has done everything he needed to accomplish here to save us from our sins; it shows that he is God’s promised king; and it shows that he will one day come again to rule over this world as our forever king.
Suggested Scripture Reading: Acts 1:1-11